4. Ishmael Chambers delivers a dynamic and unexpected change through the novel that many could never fathom. In simple context, he discovers evidence that can help prove the innocence of Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese veteran soldier from World War II. Kabuo’s wife, Hatsue, was once Ishmael’s love interest but was alienated by her. Including the fact that Ishmael fought for the United States in World War II, he ends up helping prove Kabuo’s innocence in court. He overcomes any possible resentment towards Japanese and comes honestly to aid Kabuo.
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2. Reading this novel made me think of my older sister, Ruth, who is 32 years old and a dynamic character herself after overcoming a negative past. When she was 18 years old, she married Cesar Flores and also gave birth to my nephew Cesar Ruben Flores Jr. on September 16th, 1997. When my nephew was about only 3 months old, his father was savagely shot and killed by an African-American man while working as a tow truck driver for the city of Chicago. Since the death of my nephew’s father and my sister’s husband, she became prejudiced towards all african-americans and has admitted it. Unlike Ishmael, this has never changed. I remember that her prime reason for not voting for Barack Obama in 2008 was because he was black. Also unlike Ishmael, I don’t believe that she will ever overcome her prejudice.
3. I know that Snow Falling on Cedars has been made into a movie but it doesn’t appeal to me and I don’t plan on watching it. The third-person narration of the novel was the most attention grabbing aspect of it and I doubt that a movie involving unrequited love, Japanese-speaking people, and court scenes would have third-person narration. My best assumption is that the movie adaption falls into the genre of drama and that most likely wouldn’t help to catch my attention either.
1. The novel takes place on the fictional San Piedro Island in northern Washington during a blizzard in 1954. The author of Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson, was born in Seattle, Washington in 1956, making him no stranger to typical winter settings in Washington. The 1950s were part of the post WWII era in which prejudice towards Japanese was very high. This helped make the setting of the novel natural and unfabricated.
3. The symbolism of Ishmael losing his arm and losing Hatsue shows how he is able to endure so much and still grow stronger within himself. Even though both things were parts of him, they were the “weak” parts and by losing them he became stronger. The other symbol is the blizzard. The entire trial itself is a storm of inevitable prejudice in post WWII America. If the setting had been hot summer days, the novel would lack the symbolism of the hysteria taking place.
4. The literal meaning of the novel refers to when Ishmael and Hatsue were at the cedar tree during the storm. The symbolic meaning of the novel is that Ishmael and Hatsue took shelter at the cedar tree as snow fell on it. The tree protected them from the storm and the outside world while nothing else could. It was the only place where it was safe to be and to express themselves.
1. The opening passage is effective in creating an atmosphere: it is a hostile courtroom with the proud and remorseless murderer Kabuo Miyamoto, dressed in dull colors and with a face as pale as the shirt upon his muscular physique; as guilty as he appears, he willfully places his hands on the defendants table and stares straight ahead with eyes as dark as his crime, whatever it may be.
3. “â€¦ And since the courtroom, however stark, mirrored in their hearts the dignity of their prayer houses, they conducted themselves with churchgoing solemnity.”
Stark – harsh; grim; severe
“A few windwhipped and decrepit Victorian mansions, remnants of a lost era of seagoing optimism, loomed out of the snowfall on the town’s sporadic hills.”
Decrepit – weakened by old age
“But the cause of death-unequivocally-was drowning. Is that right? Am I correct?”
Unequivocally – clear; absolute
“One morning when Ishmeal was eight years old a pair of surveyors had showed up with their transits and alidades and knotted red flagging everywhere.”
Alidades – a straight edge with parallel telescopic sight
“By noon the smell of the sea was eviscerated, the sight of it mistily depleted, too; â€¦”
Eviscerated – to deprive of vital or essential parts
I was only able to read two novels and they were Snow Falling on Cedars and Blindness. Of these two choices, I appreciated reading Blindness the most. I would say that my reasons for choosing Blindness are unique: it was the first novel I have read independently since the beginning of high school, it helped me regain my tolerance for reading, and it increased my literary skills dramatically.
Reading Blindness as my first novel in years was me overcoming an obstacle that I would compare to a musician playing a song that they hadn’t played in three years. It just isn’t an easy thing to do.
Reading Blindness was also great in helping me regain tolerance of reading quality-length literature. It was absolutely longer than anything I’ve read in three years and it wasn’t the most exciting, too.
Lastly, my literary skills increased solely by reading this one novel. My rhetoric and comprehension of complex literature is significantly better now and I definitely attribute this to Blindness.
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